Aug 29, 2011

Posted by in Jorge, Spiritual Reflection | 1 Comment

Somewhere in 20759

Somewhere in 20759

Remembering the trip to South America

Written on January 26, 2010

Nando: [addressing the survivors] Okay, uh, I got something to tell you. Good news – they called off the search.
[everyone objects and argues]
Carlitos Páez: Why the hell is that good news?
Nando: Because it means we’re gonna get out of here on our own.
From the 1993 movie ‘Alive’

Somewhere in 20759
Leaving home can be a challenging, scary and especially educational thing. You learn things along the way. One of those things: Boy, did I have stuff. I’m just your average single twentysomething (minus the flat screen plasma, I never got one of those), and I’m now the proud owner of a storage room full of boxes upon boxes of things (traded-off that plasma for lots of kitchen stuff, now in boxes (I do enjoy to cook)). Another thing: Don’t underestimate what your house can hold, or what it seems to hold. My rooms were mostly all empty, to the naked eye. And still, in every…

1. assessing,
2. disrupting,
3. selecting,
4. organizing,
5. re-assessing,
6. packing, and
7. putting away

…(do this for every room or section of a room), I had plenty of time to think some things through. For example, I wondered if God had made me just the way that I was (way too methodical, melancholy-personality type) so that I could realize another dimension of the sureness of my Calling: Every box that I put away was a slow-moving reminder of the fact that I was willing (and able) to live out of two checked-in bags, one carry-on and one personal item, and that I was putting away things I knew I could live without. I hope you noticed how many steps it took me before I even got to each packing stage.

But packing wasn’t the only challenge. I love what I’m about to write, and how I’m about to write it. Something awesome happened while in the last few weeks in Maryland. Something beyond the greatness of seeing the helping hands of brothers and sisters in the endeavors of a life change. Something beyond the prayerful encouragement of the Body. The good news was that sickness came to visit. Don’t you love it how it happens? I used to be of the belief that at the front porch of every opened door of a God-driven decision awaited the aimless arrow attacks of the Enemy, trying to claim one more hit before you step out in Faith. But now, I’ve learned that they are everything but aimless. They are precise. They hit where it hurts. When I was not purposely living out to fulfill my Calling, when I was inside, barely glancing at that door from time to time, the attacks where still there, but more subtle. Sometimes, the attacks were unnoticeable at best. Better yet, the attacks where mostly created by me, in the shape of daily distractions and priorities that took me away from living out how God had called me to be. The Enemy had better things to do.

However, my heart had chosen to take a different route. I had decided to take off my Calvin Klein shoes and throw down my Dell laptop (bad Moses’ burning bush, sandals and staff analogy, I know). And it was then when it happened. First me. I became ill with the same physiological discomfort and symptoms that led to surgery and a slow, painful recovery 5 years ago. Remember, at this point I’m T minus 10 days away from not having health insurance, and I’m T minus 20 days from leaving. Then my brother DJ. He becomes overtaken with seizures on Christmas eve and New Years Day, rare for an otherwise healthy 18 year old without a history. Then my mom RL. Unbearable pain sends her and us rushing to the Emergency Room. In fact, it wasn’t an easy sight to see both DJ and RL at the ER on the same New Years day. In fact, DJ had to be hospitalized for 3 days, and I was there with him. Amidst my own pain, prayer and emotional support, I chuckled at the timeliness of it all. Suddenly I had every logical reason not to leave, to perhaps stay a little bit longer to make sure things were OK, on every front.

But the Holy Spirit kept the fighting stance I could not. I could entertain the thought of not leaving, but that was it. I could only entertain it, not carry it out. It felt a bit illogical but the Holy Spirit has proven time and time again to work well above my 6’1” level of thinking. And through the struggle, the Holy Spirit of our Lord had mercy on me so that I would be reminded of the true nature of this battle (Ephesians 6:12). I was affirmed in my faith and my answer to the Call. I was affirmed that the God of Abraham, God of Isaac and the God of Jacob was with me, for me and through me.

And here I am. Ask me if the illness that came to visit is with me any longer. It isn’t. Ask me if the events that attempted to disrupt our lives somewhere back in zip code 20759 left us crying or broken or without peace. They didn’t. In fact, among many miracles, we were able to experience the miracle of illness bringing family together. Before I left the US, my family and I had the honor of eating, sharing and laughing with a family member that had parted ways with us in years past. Resentment was left on some hospital bed. True forgiveness and second chances were not a side effect, but the main effect. Praises to the God who turns everything for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

You’re an important part of this

  • Pray for the spiritual and physical health of my family members in the US. They are JL, RL, NR, DJ, DA, LS and SB. (Isaiah 53:5)
  • Pray for humility in my life. As I prepare to work with the local church here in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, pray that I may be humble and that I may submit to the leadership of the church in a Godly way. (Hebrews 13:17)
  • Pray for me so that I may bear good witness and be a reflection of Christ. Pray that I may set an example in my way of life in speech, love, faith and purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
  • Pray for my thoughts. Pray that my mind be filled with excellent and praiseworthy things. (Philippians 4:8)
  • Pray for the people in the city of Santa Cruz. Pray that through divine appointments, I may become friends with 3 people who are unchurched. Pray that I may find grace before their eyes, so that I may be invited into their lives and befriend them. (Acts 8:31)

I love you all. Your prayers sustain my spirit.

  1. I pray that the Lord will give me the strength to move forward in my spiritual growth as He has for you!

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